Honda's Starting to Sound a Lot Like Toyota

hondas starting to sound a lot like toyota

Of all the automakers populating this vast land, none display quite same the level of guarded optimism for the passenger car’s future as Toyota. Two years ago, if you recall, it boldly declared that its new Camry might save the midsize sedan segment. Well, there’s now a new entry in the rose-colored glasses race.

Honda feels that public distrust in the ability of a four-door sedan to carry occupants to their intended destination has pretty much bottomed out.

Speaking to Bloomberg, Henio Arcangeli, senior vice president of automotive operations for Honda Motor Co.’s U.S. unit, said he’s confident the segment’s rapid slump is near an end.

“We think we’re getting close to the limit in terms of the percentage mix of light trucks versus cars, which is very close to that 70-30 mix,” he said. “At least in the near term, that’s probably the limit.”

The industry’s 2018 sales results showed consumers heading to trucks, crossovers, and SUVs in ever greater numbers, with the split being 31 percent cars, 69 percent light trucks. December’s results showed an even more lopsided result, with cars falling to 28 percent of the market.

Still, despite an OEM exodus from the car market that started with Fiat Chrysler and more recently ensnared Ford and General Motors, one projection suggests a stabilization is on our doorstep. LMC Automotive forecasts an evening out in the car slump after about 2021, with the car segment still topping pickup trucks in terms of volume as far in the future as 2025. IHS Markit’s projections clash with Honda’s optimism, however, as the firm anticipates a light truck take rate of 75 percent by 2023.

Last year, sales of Honda cars sank 9 percent, with Acura’s car volume declining by 9.5 percent. Meanwhile, light truck sales rose 3.6 percent at the big H and 8.4 percent at Acura.

Last month’s sales tally shows no signs of a change of heart among the buying public, with sales of Honda cars falling 1 percent in January, year over year. Acura cars sank 11.7 percent.

One thing Honda has going for it is a still-popular — and very diverse — Civic line. Last year saw the automaker add a new Insight premium hybrid sedan to its stable, joining the Clarity line in the company’s green wing and further bolstering its car selection. It remains to be seen whether future domestic car buyers, stymied in their bid for a new Cruze or Focus, will instead head to a Japanese brand for the closest alternative.

[Image: Honda]

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  • Jatz Jatz on Feb 02, 2019

    "That your trans failed on your 2000 Accord V6 isn’t what’s important" I'd say sgeffe has the right of rebuttal on that one.

    • See 3 previous
    • Mittencuh Mittencuh on Feb 03, 2019

      @sgeffe The 1998s and 1999s seemed to have better luck with transmissions. My 1999 V6 had 270k and no issues with the transmission at all. My aunt worked for Honda at the time and said the 2000 model year was when the transmission issues really started to come out en masse.

  • CarrollGardener CarrollGardener on Feb 04, 2019

    My 2006 Accord V6 6-speed manual sedan for the win.

  • Sgeffe Bronco looks with JLR “reliability!”What’s not to like?!
  • FreedMike Back in the '70s, the one thing keeping consumers from buying more Datsuns was styling - these guys were bringing over some of the ugliest product imaginable. Remember the F10? As hard as I try to blot that rolling aberration from my memory, it comes back. So the name change to Nissan made sense, and happened right as they started bringing over good-looking product (like the Maxima that will be featured in this series). They made a pretty clean break.
  • Flowerplough Liability - Autonomous vehicles must be programmed to make life-ending decisions, and who wants to risk that? Hit the moose or dive into the steep grassy ditch? Ram the sudden pile up that is occurring mere feet in front of the bumper or scan the oncoming lane and swing left? Ram the rogue machine that suddenly swung into my lane, head on, or hop up onto the sidewalk and maybe bump a pedestrian? With no driver involved, Ford/Volkswagen or GM or whomever will bear full responsibility and, in America, be ambulance-chaser sued into bankruptcy and extinction in well under a decade. Or maybe the yuge corporations will get special, good-faith, immunity laws, nation-wide? Yeah, that's the ticket.
  • FreedMike It's not that consumers wouldn't want this tech in theory - I think they would. Honestly, the idea of a car that can take over the truly tedious driving stuff that drives me bonkers - like sitting in traffic - appeals to me. But there's no way I'd put my property and my life in the hands of tech that's clearly not ready for prime time, and neither would the majority of other drivers. If they want this tech to sell, they need to get it right.
  • TitaniumZ Of course they are starting to "sour" on the idea. That's what happens when cars start to drive better than people. Humanpilots mostly suck and make bad decisions.